From the sleek and minimalist elements of modernism to the saturated and groovy vibe of the '70s, there is no shortage of inspired decades to draw inspiration from. Today, midcentury modern and craftsman styles are among the most popular vintage influences, although there are plenty of other eras making their mark.
Contemporary style, in particular, has played a major role in the preservation of vintage decor by setting a precedent for a seamless integration between the old and the new. These days, we're finding that many homeowners and renters alike are incorporating vintage pieces into their living rooms.
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"Finding vintage pieces to mix in with other things, aesthetically, really works," says designer Mary Patton of Mary Patton Design. "I like to mix vintage coffee tables, lamps, and end tables with new modern upholstery."
For those who want to lend a vintage touch to the living space, it's all about identifying an era that complements their existing aesthetic. Designer Lance Thomas of Thomas Guy Interiors recommends using a standout vintage piece to really set the tone of the room and to incorporate other styles. "A vintage sofa can really make a living room," he says. "Leather is a great option or, for a pop of color, you can choose a vintage velvet sofa."
The task then becomes to find pieces of decor that are consistent with that time period, and thoughtfully integrate them throughout your space — this is definitely easier said than done. For some additional inspiration, we've looked high and low to bring you some inspired design ideas that will point you in the right direction.
30 Vintage Living Room Decor Ideas
If you're looking to dip your toes into vintage design, start small in your living space with a statement piece or two, like Lynda Gardener did in this Scandi-meets-farmhouse cottage. The old-fashioned wood-burning stove and the picture ledge above the sectional sofa, displaying an assortment of black-and-white photos and oil paintings, elude to a storied past. The linen lanterns, an abundance of accent pillows, and sheepskin throws are essential to nailing the art of hygge.
2. Go for craftsman style.
Craftsman style came about during the arts and crafts movement of the late 19th century and can be characterized by the use of natural materials and clean lines to create custom features. For example, in this beautiful home restored by Jamie Haller, the designer embraced the original wood, bringing it back to its former glory, and had baseboards and molding custom-made to match the existing pieces already in the home. The cohesive nature of the finishes inspires a clean-cut aesthetic that's effortlessly cool.
3. Incorporate vintage leather.
Fine leather furniture is always a good investment, but make sure the pieces you buy are high-quality to ensure that it pays off. These vintage accent chairs selected by Katie Hodges really make the living room design — adding the perfect old-school touch to the cool Spanish-deco-inspired space.
4. Play off the home's history.
This historic home built in 1905 is bursting with vintage charm. The team over at Jean Stoffer Design did a masterful job renovating the property, as evidenced by the stunning living room. Traditional pieces of home decor — such as a pair of tight-back sofas, a grand piano, and a leather club chair, to name a few — are plentiful in this space, and blend in seamlessly with the classic architectural features.
5. Allow rustic wooden beams to serve as a focal point.
Leave it to this farmhouse living room by Diana Marie Home to serve us with a major dose of design inspiration. From the exposed wood beam ceiling to the shiplap walls to the blackened steel candelabra chandelier to the "Antique Sale" sign hanging behind an assortment of collectibles, every element in this space is an ode to country living. The all-white color scheme really allows the rustic wood ceiling to take center stage.
6. Mix traditional with modern.
Hats off to Alisa from A Glass of Bovino for her Hollywood glam living room. By sticking to a reserved background (note the white walls), she was able to introduce playful pops of color and pattern by way of art and accessories throughout the beautifully appointed space.
7. Welcome a bold wall color.
When designing a vintage-style living room with Southwestern roots, don't sleep on bold colors — namely anything that ranges from orange to green. This warm and inviting scene by The Hearnes shows us how it's done. The emerald green wall paint makes a picture-perfect backdrop for the brown leather sofa and weathered wood finishes. The brightly patterned textiles (such as the accent pillows, throw blanket, and area rug) punctuate the scene beautifully.
8. Highlight midcentury modern design.
Consider this stunning setup midcentury modern style in a nutshell. Wood-paneled walls infuse the room with a wealth of warmth while the jewel-toned velvet sofa offers a tactile layer that's equal parts comfortable and swoon-worthy. Bring it all together with a vintage paper lantern, much like the one spotted in the corner, for a positively chic finish.
9. Invite English country accents.
This cozy English country living room designed by McGrath II has no shortage of visual treats to indulge in. Staying true to the beloved aesthetic, the space features an assortment of varied patterns and a mix of colors that echo those found in the antique area rug underfoot. Traditional furniture silhouettes and framed oil paintings complete the idyllic scene.
10. Don't forget about the artwork.
Take a cue from this stunning art deco living room spotted on Inspired by This and go big with the help of a few statement pieces. In this vintage setup, decadent black walls set the scene for an oversize piece of artwork. The chocolate brown, rolled-arm leather sofa, old-school trunk, elegant chandelier, and even the potted palm all play an integral part in this sophisticated production.
11. Embrace maximalism.
Combine styles from varying eras for an unexpected vintage-meets-maximalist look. Every nook and cranny of this living space is chock-full of collected treasures — from the ladder-style bookcase topped with a birdcage to the old-fashioned roll-top desk to the storage unit with countless cubbies overflowing with tchotchkes — making it the ultimate conversation zone.
12. Invest in iconic furniture pieces.
Bauhaus style took center stage in the early 20th century, and since then, it's found its way into many contemporary interiors in the form of sleek lines and a strict use of neutrals. Weave vintage flair into the mix by incorporating classic pieces such as the armchairs and matching coffee table spotted in this living room, which were designed by Marcel Breuer.
13. Complement wooden accents.
In this townhouse by Elizabeth Roberts, the wood-paneled walls and millwork might steal the show, but the mix of midcentury and modern furniture and decor make the perfect supporting cast. Take a cue from this inspired design and embrace a color palette that can complement rich wood finishes — think sage green, beige, and dusty rose.
14. Hang modern wallpaper.
If you're a lover of grandmillennial style, then you are in for a treat. This charming living area by Heidi Caillier combines the best of English country design and traditionalism for a cozy refuge that's made for relaxing by the fireside. From warm wood finishes and varying colors to mix and matched patterns and an assortment of textures, this vintage setup has it all and then some.
15. Get groovy with '70s midcentury.
All of the home decor in this living room by Jamie Bush — from the chartreuse sofa to the Warren Platner coffee table to the Saarinen side table — points to midcentury style, but it's the shag rug that doubles as an ode to the '70s. The rich textures seen here are instrumental in lending a softer note to the otherwise streamlined details of the room, while the cane ottomans add a cool structural element.
16. Create an old-school corner.
Sparsity is the name of the game in this reading nook, which makes it clear just how impactful minimalist style can be. All it takes to recreate this dramatic corner is a simple accent chair that echoes the wall color, resulting in a monochromatic finish that packs quite the punch. (We love the charcoal gray shade seen here.) An old-school oil painting hits the right moody note, and makes the perfect finishing touch.
17. Dress up a vintage fireplace.
We love designer Zoë Feldman's unique take on traditional design with her unapologetic use of bold color and texture. While the bright orange sofa stands in as a modern accent piece, it's the upholstered settee and carved fireplace surround that keeps the space feeling classic and cool. Consider this a lesson in how to seamlessly integrate vintage and contemporary living room decor.
18. Consider French country glam.
In this remodel by designer Cortney Bishop, you'll find a range of vintage and antique elements that combine effortlessly. The wall decor and Edwardian armchairs are a nod to traditionalism, while the streamlined details of the fireplace offer a modernized touch. The vintage-style French country living room is complete with a luxurious crystal chandelier and an imported area rug.
19. Revel in rustic charm.
Rustic style with a craftsman bent looks a lot like this stunning scene designed by Jersey Ice Cream Co. While the exposed wood ceiling, wall paneling, and weathered wood flooring are reminiscent of a cabin in the woods, the furniture and decor — like the velvet lounge chairs with tassel fringe, traditional sconces, old-school portrait, and vintage area rug — give the living room a refined feeling.
20. Create a vintage jungle with an abundance of houseplants.
Give your timeless setup a modern makeover with a fresh coat of white paint and plenty of plants. It's a vintage living room idea that's easy to pull off no matter when your furniture was made, as proven by Ron Goh's lofty Auckland retreat.
21. Use a specific size or shape.
If you really want to embrace the vintage living room look, trade in your matching furniture set for mismatched pieces à la this setup by Carrie Waller of Dream Green DIY. Just try to find pieces that have a similar scale and bulk. It's even better if the colors and wood finishes complement each other, too.
22. Scour flea markets for vintage rattan.
Dreams do come true — nowadays, it's totally on trend to deck out your living space in rattan and palm fronds à la The Golden Girls. Test the waters of this vintage living room idea and incorporate a couple of pieces of rattan furniture like the grand peacock chair spotted here.
23. Have fun with patterns.
When styling your vintage living room, don't be afraid to play with patterns like Anna of Experimental Vintage did in her own home. Pairing a bold antique area rug with plaid accent pillows and a blue tie-dye throw blanket is a great place to start. Don't forget a touch of green with some tropical houseplants.
24. Showcase your treasured collections.
Whether it be glassware, ceramics, stamps, or vinyl records, a collection of items is a great way to bring character and personality into your vintage space. Case in point: Jessica Comingore showcased her vinyl collection in an antique record cabinet, which imparts even more timeless flair.
25. Anchor white living room walls with dark furniture and decor.
You don't need retro-patterned wallpaper to pull off a vintage look. Follow the lead of Heidi Caillier and amp up the mood in your space with dark furniture and decor. In this small living room, crisp white walls balance the decadent shades of green and brown used throughout.
26. Pull from one statement piece.
Let one piece of vintage furniture inform the rest of your space. At least, that's what designer Mary Patton did when it came to this entryway that opens to the living room. The blue from the unique bench is echoed in the floral wallpaper, baseboard, and even the front door, resulting in a wonderfully cohesive design.
27. Breathe new life into a forgotten piece of furniture.
An old wood sideboard gets a second life when it's repurposed as a console table. Plus, it's decked out with even more vintage finds like the table lamp, eclectic art, and record player. Repurposing forgotten or neglected pieces of decor might be the best part of vintage style.
28. Shop for vintage as well as vintage-inspired pieces.
Ryann Trombetti from Style by Emily Henderson perfected the art of a vintage living room in her home. The trick? Surrounding genuine antiques, like the stunning record cabinet, with new pieces that look like they have a storied past. For instance, despite their classic appearance, the coffee table and gilded mirror are actually new finds — but they blend right in. Note the old magazine and newspaper issues on display that add a little something extra to the space.
29. Don't forget the bar.
This living room belonging to Carrie from Dream Green DIY is bringing our Mad Men dreams to life thanks to that retro bar cabinet. Follow her lead and carve out space for your own cocktail station stocked with everything you need to imbibe on classics such as a martini, Tom Collins, or an old fashioned.
30. Welcome an old-school chaise.
Infuse a little art deco flair into your vintage living room with a swoon-worthy chaise lounge, like the sage green number (complete with fringe!) that's sitting in this living room by Carley Page Summers. And bonus: The luxurious design is part of a collaboration that Summers did with River & Bord, which makes it easy to bring the look into your own home.
Vintage Living Room FAQs
How do I make my living room look vintage?
While you can't transport yourself to a different decade, you can definitely bring the feel of it into your living room. Start by incorporating older pieces of home decor that fit your current style and build from there. It's okay to start small, too. "I'd recommend going new with soft seating and [a] rug, and mixing in vintage accessories, shelving, and tables," Patton says.
How can I blend modern and vintage styles?
All in all, when it comes to infusing your modern home with vintage influences, it's all about looking at what you already have and building on top of that. A strictly modern minimalist scheme can benefit from retro accents reminiscent of the '60s, while a contemporary one can be a starting point for anything from craftsman to traditional.
Where can I find vintage pieces of furniture and decor?
Look to your local flea markets, antique shops, yard sales, and estate sales for pieces that speak to you. You can also peruse online destinations, such as Etsy, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, 1stDibs, and Chairish. It's important to remember to take your time and be thoughtful about the vintage treasures you bring into your home — each piece should help tell a larger story.
Aside from vintage shops and estate sales, Thomas recommends sourcing from antique auctions on reliable sites when purchasing antiques sight unseen. "There are some very good fakes and reproductions that will fool even the most experienced buyers," he says. "A reputable auction site will usually vet and list whether or not the item is authentic."